Facing elimination for the first time this postseason, the Boston Bruins will scratch center Ryan Spooner for Game 5 at the Ottawa Senators on Friday evening. As a result, the Bruins will replace Spooner with fellow forward Sean Kuraly.
At first, Bruins’ interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said Spooner was “not 100 percent,” but then clarified that he wants more grit in his lineup. Cassidy says Kuraly can contribute more on offense due to his tough style of play.
“I still think most of these games come down to the will at the puck, on the puck, around the puck,” said Cassidy, according to the Boston Globe. “And we just have to have that.
“We’ve got to outwill them at the puck, to win pucks, and once we have it, we’ve got to outwill them at the net to get second chances, and we have to outwill them in our slot area.”
The daunted neutral zone trap the Senators run has confused the Bruins, particularly in the two contests at TD Garden. Ottawa jumped out to a 3-0 lead in Game 3, which saw the Bruins record just three shots on goal in the first period. Boston managed to come back and tie that game, but they lost in overtime.
In Game 4, the Bruins finished with 22 shots on goal and lost 1-0. Boston is averaging just 24 shots on goal per game in the series.
Spooner has only two shots and two assists in the four games. Kuraly has played 10 games at the NHL level, including two playoff contests and has yet to record a goal.
Boston must win Game 5 at the Canadian Tire Centre on Friday. The Senators lead the series 3-1.